Latest Blog Posts

Taking your backyard BBQ to the next level
How to Throw a Buy-Local Party!
Big Deck Design Tips from Trex
Going Up! Deck sizes are on the rise!
Don't Slip on your Deck!
Advice from Country Financial
3 Ways to Start the New Year Right
Decorate your Deck with these Unique Christmas Projects
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What Our Customers are Saying:

“I just love my patio; it’s an extension to my home and just in time for a visit from a gal I knew when I lived in Virginia…The quality of living in my home is so much improved, it’s hard to describe. Window coverings are up so light shines in all day long…had to keep them closed because of the too bright sun and heat. And working with Trish and Trent and team was the best…professional all the way. Several neighbors have peeked in and may do this also..we all have a western exposure!”

-Sheila C, Corvallis, OR

Jan 22

TnT Builders Wins 2017 Angie's List Super Service Award!

We are excited to announce that we are once again winners of the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award! We work incredibly hard to make sure our customers love their new outdoor living space…and that they also loved working with us! Thank you to everyone who gave us such glowing reviews!
Check out our Angie’s List Page.






Jan 8

Labor Shortage Crisis

Have you been frustrated with rising costs of construction and longer waiting time for project completion? The reason is the increasing construction boom with a massive skilled labor shortage…and it’s only going to get worse. While 1.6 million new skilled labor workers will be needed in the next few years, currently 75% of construction companies report having trouble finding qualified skilled laborers.



It All Started With The 2008 Recession

Dave Henderer, president of Henderer Design + Build, explains, “I believe that since the great recession, people have left the trade work force and very few have returned. Couple that with the fact that we’ve taken shop classes out of schools, young people are no longer being exposed to the trades- or even the idea of working with their hands.

“All of this adds up to a shortage of qualified people in the trades. Our work is not something that you can simply hire anyone off the street and expect them to be able to produce at a level that our company is known for; often-times, it will take 3 or 4 hires before we actually find someone with the skills and mindset that is a good fit for our company. This is leading to longer wait times for our clients as it’s become difficult to find new, qualified staff.”

Construction is Booming Without Qualified Laborers

Laura Evans, owner of Renaissance Roofing, explains why quality roofing contractors are so booked, “The amount of construction jobs in the United States is bouncing back to higher levels than we’ve seen in years; however the amount of workers is not growing with the same momentum.

“This is taking its toll on contractors like us who are trying to meet demand while maintaining a qualified and quality workforce. Refusing to sacrifice quality has meant that jobs are taking longer and the waiting list is growing. The shortage is limiting what contractors are able to do and the amount of work they are able to take on.”



Many High Paying Skilled Labor Jobs, But Few Takers

Laura Evan again explains, “With a plethora of guaranteed well-paying jobs in the construction field, it is strange that no one is taking them. High schoolers are being prepared and pushed towards college, regardless of whether or not that is the best option for them. In recent years, blue collared jobs have gained a bad reputation and are seen as a backup option in many cases.

“We are calling for a change in attitude towards construction and roofing jobs. It is becoming apparent that the long wait times and shortages are not sustainable and not fair to our customers.”

Lack of Skilled Laborers Leads to Higher Construction Costs

Trish Irwin, owner of TnT Builders, says, “While we are proud to be able to offer high paying jobs with full benefits to skilled laborers, the shrinking pool of qualified skilled laborers has thrown the construction industry out of balance. In order to maintain our high level of quality, we are having to pay more labor costs. We are having to pay higher wages to keep qualified and skilled laborers, and having to hire less skilled and less qualified laborers.

“Hiring unskilled laborers leads to increased training times, higher turnover rates, slower production, and less safe working conditions. Ultimately all of this leads to unnecessarily higher constructions costs to the customer.”

How You Can Help

First, you can promote the skilled trades among students. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has developed Pipeline, which helps graduating students and skilled labor employers easily find each other; you can find more information at the Albany Chamber Pipeline.

Second, if you know of someone who is looking for a great paying job, have them apply to one of these great businesses and blog contributors:

Renaissance Roofing

Henderer Design + Build

TnT Builders: Deck and Patio Cover Experts


Dec 5

Why Outdoor Living Doesn't Stop During Winter - A Guide to Fire Pits




Outdoor living doesn’t need to stop during winter. For the colder months, a fire pit can extend the enjoyment of your backyard. A cozy fire is just the thing to bring together the people you love for roasting marshmallows or creating a luxury environment for a party.

Bringing People Together

People love to gather around a fire. Instead of watching TV every night, fire pits are great for bringing the family together to make s’mores or roast hot dogs. And when the kids go to bed, fire pits are equally suited for romantic nights for two with a glass of wine.

A warm fire also becomes a focal point at gatherings and dinner parties for people to gather around to enjoy a warm drink and good conversation. A fire pit can even be the main reason people are invited to your home when you say, “Come on over, we’re lighting a fire tonight!” Add comfortable seating and you’ve got an event!



Style and Material

You can buy a ready made fire pit or you can build a fire pit yourself out of a variety of materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or metal. With a variety of styles and materials, you can pick the fire pit that best shows off your personality and your home. Keep in mind that heavier stone materials will last longer than lightweight metals.

An increasingly popular option is the fire table. A fіrе table іѕ like а patio table made out of metal, marble, tile, or stone, but wіth a submerged bowl in the center fоr уоur fіrе. Fire tables are a great option because they can be mobile, have surface space for drinks or plates of food, can be either wood burning or gas burning, and many convert to a full table for more surface area.



Gas vs Wood Burning

Wood burning fire pits will give off the most heat and can be used for cooking marshmallows or other BBQ foods. But wood fires can take a bit more effort to start and maintain, give off more irritating smoke, and flying sparks increase fire dangers.

Gas fire pits do not put out as much heat and are not recommended for cooking food, but start with the flick of a switch, which makes them easier to use. Gas fire pits also don’t give off irritating smoke or flying sparks, which makes them safer and more enjoyable. Natural gas fire pits are more expensive to install and cannot be moved, but are easier to maintain; propane fire pits are more mobile, but require propane tanks that can be hard to hide and will need to be refilled.



Safety First

Be sure safety is top of your list! Place your fire pit at lеаѕt tеn feet frоm уоur home, thrее tо fіvе feet frоm any furniture, and remember to look up! Keep a clearance of roughly 30 feet vertically to avoid accidents with low hanging trees or structures.

If using a wood fire pit, do not place it directly on a deck without a fireproof mat and use a spark arrestor or safety screen. Surround your fire pit with a non-combustible surface: dirt, paving stones, or concrete. And make sure to keep a container of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher nearby whenever you light up the fire pit.

Tell us how you enjoy your outdoor living space during the winter months – post on our Facebook page!


Nov 6

Winterizing Your Deck



Winter is coming and it’s time to start thinking about how to maintain your deck before the cold & wet weather sets in.

The harsh winter season can take a toll on your deck, so if you want your investment to last, winterizing your deck is a must. Winterizing can be as simple as clearing and cleaning it; however if your deck is more than a few years old, it may require more attention.

Remove Planters and Furniture

Wash outdoor furniture and, if possible, store indoors to avoid leaving marks on the decking from rust or weathering.

If you can, remove all planters, pots, and containers. Moisture trapped between the deck and plastic, wood, or ceramic containers can encourage mildew, discoloration, or decay.

However, if that isn’t an option, rotate the pots on a regular basis and put them on “risers” of some sort. You can stop by the TnT office and pick up scraps of composite decking that works great for this purpose. These risers keep water from collecting under the planter and potentially damaging your decking as well as increasing air circulation around the base of the pot & the roots of any remaining plants.

Clear Debris

Sweep off leaves as soon as possible. Leaves can trap a lot of moisture on your deck and if left to decompose can leave stains or even start to rot your deck.

While sweeping, make sure you dislodge any debris in-between the boards. When boards are too close together or are packed with debris, you can end up with standing water which eventually leads to mold and rot damage.

Clear board gaps also promotes proper air circulation to make sure excess moisture isn’t trapped underneath your deck, helping keep mold and rot at bay.

Clean All Surfaces

Next, thoroughly clean the deck to remove slippery mold, mildew, and moss and prevent potential staining.

Power washing can restore the beauty of a well-used deck, but should be done with care. Pressure set too high can remove the finish or even scar wood.

The best thing to do is give your deck a good wash. Any kind of outdoor cleaner will do (we recommend Oxyclean or 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner). Spray it on, give it time to work its magic, give it a little scrub with a soft brush and rinse it off.

Inspect and Repair

Now that your deck is cleared and clean, this is a good time to inspect your deck and make sure you don’t have any sagging boards, loose railings, or rotting areas. It can be detrimental and hazardous to procrastinate repairing your deck. Make any necessary repairs before cold and wet conditions make your deck problems worse.

If you need deck repairs or replacement we’d be happy to help you out! Feel free to give us a call at 541-926-3117 or email us at info@tntbuildesrinc.com.


Feb 27

Spring Clean Your Deck Without Damaging It



Which methods are best: pressure washing vs. chemical cleaners, chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach, staining vs. sealing, water vs. oil based?

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to get your deck ready for the summer! Early spring is the best time to get your deck ready for the year because the weather is cool and washing a deck in summer heat puts a lot of stress on the wood. But how do you clean your deck without damaging it? Here are a few way to get your deck ready for the summer without causing damage:

Prevent Wood Rot by CLEARING

The first step is to clear your entire deck. Clear the deck of any furniture, rugs, grills, planters, etc. Don’t be tempted to try to work around your BBQ or table, move it all off. Next, remove any nearby vegetation that is growing onto your deck, like tree branches, vines, or bushes. Then, sweep off any remaining debris, leaves, and branches with a broom (leaving organic materials on your deck traps moisture and can cause wood rot). Finally, use a putty knife to “floss” out any debris between the deck boards to promote water flow and prevent wood rot.

Prevent Disaster by REPAIRING

Once your deck is cleared, you need to inspect your deck for any damage. Check the decking for any loose or raised boards, splintered boards, or raised nails. Replace any bad boards and replace any raised nails with a larger nail or screw to get more of a “bite” into the deck frame. Check the deck railing for any loose posts, caps, rails, or balusters. If you see any signs of damage, replace or repair the problem areas.

Composite decking and hand rails may not require as much maintenance as a traditional wood decking, but you still want to inspect the support structure below. Bounce up and down on the deck and see if the structure seems weakened. Look underneath your deck for any loose lag bolts, deck fasteners, or wood rot. If you see any structural damage, contact a professional deck builder to make repairs before using your deck.

Brighten Your Deck by WASHING

After repairing your deck, you need to wash it clean of any dirt and mildew. But how should you wash your deck to prevent damaging it?

Pressure washing vs. chemical cleaners. Cleaning your deck with a pressure washer can save you time and doesn’t use any harsh chemicals. Pressure washing a composite deck is usually fine, however pressure washing a wood deck can quickly damage the deck by leaving large gouges or make your deck looking “fuzzy” by raising the wood fibers. If you must pressure wash, use a low pressure setting (around 800 psi), use a wide nozzle (40 degrees or more), hold the nozzle at least a foot away from the deck surface, and keep spraying in a constant motion to avoid gouges.
Most people find that scrubbing their deck with a long handled stiff bristled brush and deck cleaners is the best option. But what kind of cleaners should you use?

Chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach. Cleaning your deck with diluted chlorine bleach is usually the most effective at killing mildew, but it’s also the most effective way to damage your decking material. Chlorine bleach breaks down lignin, which is the glue that holds the wood fibers together, causing visible damage as well as preventing your deck stain or sealant from properly bonding to the wood. Chlorine bleach can also damage nearby plant life, siding, paint, and walkways.

Deck cleaners containing oxygen bleach remove mildew and other residue from the decking without destroying the wood. They are also non-toxic for plants, pets, and people, because they simply break down into oxygen and soda ash. However, unlike pressure washing or chlorine bleach, you might need to do a bit of scrubbing with a long handled stiff bristled brush to get your deck as clean as you’d like it.

After washing and rinsing your composite deck, you’re done! Now just bring back all of your furniture and enjoy your summer outdoors. If your deck is wood, let it dry for 2 to 3 days before doing any sanding, staining, or sealing.

Protect Your Deck by SEALING

If your wood deck has grayed, you can sand the cedar when it’s dry. You can rent a large random orbital sander with 80-grit paper and use a handheld random-orbit sander along the edges and hand rails. Before you start, make sure every exposed screw or nail is safely below the wood surface. Sand lightly until all the gray is gone and blow off all remaining sanding dust. Then you should seal or stain your deck, but which should you use?

Sealing vs. staining. Typically, decks should be re-sealed or re-stained every 1 to 2 years to protect against water and UV damage. If you want the natural color of your deck to shine through, then you can use a clear deck sealant to protect from water damage. However, if you want to add some color to your deck, deck stains protect your deck from water damage and UV damage because most deck stains contain a sealant and the added color pigments actually protect your deck from UV rays. Both deck stains and sealants can be water or oil based.

Water vs. oil based. Oil-based stains are used by many professionals and last longer that water-based stains, however oil-based stain can only be cleaned up with paint thinner and can only adhere to wood previously treated with oil-based products. Water-based stains are less durable than oil-based, however water-based products are more environmentally friendly, can be cleaned up with water, and can adhere to wood surfaces already treated with either water or oil-based stains. When applying either water or oil-based stains, make sure the temperature is between 50 to 90 degrees F, do not apply in direct sunlight, make sure the coat only three or four boards at a time to prevent lap marks, and apply two thin coats rather than one thick coat.

Enjoy Your Deck with FINISHING

Beyond repairing, cleaning, and staining, there are other things you can do to get your deck ready for spring. Why not consider modifying or adding to your deck before the season starts? Adding some outdoor lighting, like string lights, porch lights, or hand rail lighting, can make your outdoor living space useful for more hours of the day and night. Planter boxes are relatively easy to build, simple to maintain, and a great way to incorporate greenery into your deck. Built-in benches are another add-on that can help make more efficient use of your space. Finally, simply replacing your deck furniture with a new set can make a huge impact on the overall look of your deck.

For more ideas on how to update your deck, go to: www.tntbuildersinc.com; for more help on how to maintain your deck, visit us at: www.tntbuildersinc.com/maintenance; and for help with repairing and replacing your deck, contact us at: info@tntbuildersinc.com.


Feb 2

TnT Builders Wins the 2016 Angie's List Super Service Award


Jan 4

Does Snow and Ice Damage Your Deck?


Feb 1

TnT Builders wins 'Best of Houzz.com 2016' award for customer service!


Nov 9

Albany Oregon Deck & Patio Cover


Aug 26

Double Patio Cover with Outdoor Kitchen


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